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Established as a joint venture in 2001, between the Sony Corporation and Ericsson, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications is aiming to become the number one player in mobile multimedia products within five years. The new company employs some 3500 people worldwide and its corporate headquarters are located in Hammersmith Road, London. Whilst the office complex has been recently refurbished and extended to reflect the high tech nature of Sony Ericsson's business, its fascia is listed. As a result, any work carried out at the front of the premises has to be sensitive to the building's original appearance.

This was the problem that confronted platform lift supplier, Movement Management. The company was asked to provide a specialist lift to ensure that the offices are equally accessible to the less able. The building, located on Hammersmith Road in London, has a beautiful facade. The problem is that the front entrance is at the top of a short flight of steps. In order to comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, Sony Ericsson needed to ensure that wheelchair users could gain access to the building. A ramp was impractical, which meant a lift was the only option.

Movement Management proposed the installation of one of its Companion Excel low rise platform lifts adjacent to the flight of steps. The scissor mechanism, which raises and lowers the platform is contained within the base of the Excel, meaning there is no lifting machinery or structure above the platform. As such, gates and handrails can be custom designed to suit the lift's surroundings.

The Excel has a rated capacity of 400 kg and a maximum travel of two metres. It is suitable for outdoor applications and features vandal resistant low voltage control stations on the platform handrails and at each landing. The lift operates from a 415volt power supply, In the event of power failure, the power pack has a manual lowering valve.

The lift installed at Sony Ericsson's headquarters has been fitted with balustrades that match the railings to the buildings perimeter fence. It means that the final installation is very unobtrusive and compliments the impressive facade. As well as lending itself to a high degree of customisation, the Excel platform lift meets all necessary safety and operating standards and carries the CE mark as proof of conformity.

The end result is excellent. The new lift ensures that the less able can gain access to the office.

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